Lugovoi says the charges are politically motivated
Russian media commentators have generally been highly critical of the British request for the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi over the poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. This reflects the pro-government position of most of the media.
But the independent radio station Moscow Echo carried comment critical of the Russian response.
Dmitriy Kaystro on ROSSIYA TV
At the moment the charges against Lugovoi really do resemble a spy's suitcase with a false bottom, with one compartment intended for vigilant customs officers and a completely separate compartment for the real customers. The stubborn attempts to pick out a definite Russian trail in the case are far too evident as companions of the criminal case against Lugovoi, particularly given that Lugovoi himself openly cooperated with both the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office and Britain's Crown Prosecution Service. Britain's demands for Lugovoi's extradition also leave a multitude of questions because the United Kingdom itself has never rushed to hand people over.
Andrey Cherkasov on NTV
It's pretty difficult to say for sure what will become of relations between Russia and Britain. Both in London and in Moscow, you can find plenty of people who will lend their support to the conspiracy theories. In stating that it has strong grounds for the arrest of Lugovoi, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service has to pass these on to Russian investigators. The Prosecutor-General's Office is not refusing to examine them. And, for the moment, that's all the English can count on.
Stanislav Belkovskiy on MOSCOW ECHO radio
I was... surprised that it took them so long to bring charges. I think this was caused by certain political intrigues... From the very start the murder of Litvinenko was used as a factor and a trump card in the domestic political struggle in Russia, the struggle between various Kremlin factions... Everything that is happening with regard to Litvinenko has dealt a serious blow to the image of Russia and the Russian authorities... I'm practically convinced that Lugovoi will not be extradited in the foreseeable future.
Sergey Buntman on MOSCOW ECHO
The charges of premeditated poisoning brought by the Crown Prosecution Service against Andrei Lugovoi leads to an obvious deadlock. Lugovoi will not be handed over. In this case the constitution too will come in handy. Lugovoi can be brought to justice in Russia, over the same case, if such crimes are prosecuted in Russia, formally speaking. They are, on paper. Of course they are. How could murder not be prosecuted?
MOSKOVSKIY KOMSOMOLETS headline
"Scotland Yard poisons Russia"
Andrey Sharov in ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA
The official position of [Russian Prosecutor-General] Yuriy Chayka's department is not based on political sympathies or attitudes to the dead man. In accordance with the law, a Russian citizen cannot be extradited to a foreign country on criminal charges. We are not alone in this. Many highly advanced countries abide by the same rule. Israel would not hold such discussions at all. This is a reason why many of our former compatriots, having left their dirty marks on Russian territory, flee to this country and try to obtain Israeli citizenship as soon as possible.
Svetlana Gomzikova in NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA
The worst that can happen to Russian citizen Andrei Lugovoi is that he will not be able to travel outside Russia... There is little chance Lugovoi would be extradited, and the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office has precluded the possibility altogether.
Aleksandr Stepanov in GAZETA
Lugovoi is categorically denying all charges, calling the case a political one and threatening to make resolute eye-opening statements quite soon.
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